Story Experimentation

Jonathan Lethem’s latest book, the short story collection Men and Cartoons, enabled him to do some experimentation, he says in this interview with Regis Behe.

The short form provides Lethem with opportunities to experiment and work outside the restrictions of a novel. “Access Fantasy,” a fable about consumerism set in a world where cars clog the streets, is 22 pages set in a single paragraph. “The National Anthem” uses a letter to narrow the gap between two friends.
“That’s a really interesting piece for me, because I’ve never fooled around the epistolary form at all before,” Lethem says, noting one of the few books he’s read that has a similar construct is Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”

The book features the characters of Dylan Ebdus and Mingus Rude from Lethem’s earlier novel, The Fortress of Solitude.

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